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HomeMember of the Month

SFRRC Member of the Month

As a way to highlight members of our community, each month the San Francisco Road Runners recognizes someone who brings a particular positive contribution to the club. It might be from a comeback story, or their joyful/helpful presence at club runs, or inspire others with their beautiful spirit, or they trained with us and ran one exceptional race.

Our Member of the Month spotlight is new, so give the person a smile and a hello when you see them! 

ALAIN ALGAZI | NOVEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

It's a great joy for us to have Dr. Alain Algazi (crossing a finish line with his daughter) back running with us! In 2016 Alain slipped a disk in his back and was told he would likely be unable to ever run again. After surgery and 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, he quickly began the journey back to running. Then, just recently on November 4th was able to compete in the New York City Marathon. Welcome back, Alain! Thank you for reminding us of the possibilities that open to us when we put our minds to something and take the needed, though arduous, steps to reach our hopes and dreams. We're looking forward to seeing you again on our Saturday runs and occasionally on the trails on Sunday!


Questions we asked Alain:

When did you first get interested in running? And what do you run now?
The first time that I ran consistently was when I trained for my first marathon 21 years ago. I used to bike a lot and I would just run my old bike routes. I took about 13 years off during which I want to medical school and became really sedentary and mooched lots of food in the middle of the night from nursing stations while on call. Eight years ago, I lost 40 pounds and started biking. About 5 years ago I switched to running. This sounds corny, but I think of running as simply being. I don't worry about the past or future, I just live in the moment. This is a big deal when you have lots of middle-aged responsibilities. I love running with people, but I also love running alone, especially on trails.

I ran about 14 marathons from 2013 - 2016 before I slipped a disk in my back. After 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, I had qualified for Boston, and with a single training (test?) run and a bit of prednisone, I managed to complete the course using the SFRRCs 8:1 run/walk break approach. My only training run was, of course, with the SFRRC. A young woman who I'd never met finished the 20 miles with me, helping me to prove to myself that I could do it. The camaraderie in the SFRRC can be amazing!

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I have been a member since 2013. I think that I probably found the club online.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I just finished the NYC marathon and I had an amazing time (not so much on the clock). I've learned to be okay with being slow. Running is worth doing at any speed, even if nobody is really impressed. My main goal is to keep going. Of course, if I could run the Western States 100 without hurting myself, I would. Similarly, getting fitter or faster would be cool.  But, if these things don't happen, I'm fine if I can just keep going. My next race is the Kaiser Half Marathon with my daughter where my goal is to finish with an empowered, happy little girl. I'm guessing we're looking at 2:30, but it doesn't really matter. The key to hitting my goals thus far has been stubbornness and consistency. Some parts have been easy. I really like long runs and I don't feel quite right if I can't run a 12 to 20 mile long run at least once per week.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The club has been an amazing resource for the past 6 years. There's always a friendly, encouraging group of people there every time. I can show up after months off and the group will always be there. Similarly, the ability to change between pace groups has been a major plus. I have run with every group between 10 min and 7:30 at least once on long runs and I have felt welcome every time even when I don't know anybody in the group yet.

Favorite Training Runs: Recently, Solo: SF to Tennessee Vally. With the club: anything including Land's End and trail runs 
Which pace group are you in: 9 min, 9:30 and 10 recently. Depends on who I see and how I'm feeling.
How many miles do you run per week: Since NYC Marathon 20. Peaked at 40. Previously up to 70.
Shoes: New Balance Fresh 1080s, 9 4E -- also good for water skiing :)
Food (when training for a marathon): Toast. Lot's of toast.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubCure cancer, spend time with family.

What keeps you motivated?
I just love being out and running. Being able to move is a blessing and I never want to take it for granted again.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Enjoy it. Celebrate being there.  

KAREN MCSORLEY  | OCTOBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

As Karen tells us, "Truth is I just love SFRRC - what a joy it is to wake up early Saturday mornings (go figure!)." And we love Karen!! Thank you for the joy and smiles you bring to each one of us at our Saturday club runs. Karen is our 10:30min/mile pace group leader. It's not just on club run days when Karen makes our member's lives better... Her pace group emails bring the info (run meeting spot details, course, etc.) and they also bring running tips, inspiration, and fun! High five coming your way from the Goldies and all of the San Francisco Road Runners, Karen. Thank you.


Questions we asked Karen:

When did you first get interested in running? And what do you run now?
I registered for my first marathon on October 9, 2004 as a bucket list item. I had not yet even taken my first running stride. Yikes! Precisely 365 days later, I completed the Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2005. As I crossed the finish line, I did not smile and I did not cry. I simply whispered to myself, "I'm home." And that it what it feels like every time I step outside my front door wearing a pair of running kicks. When I run, I am home. 

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard great things about SFRRC & wanted to make sure I could keep up with the "pros." So I waited until I had completed 3 full marathons before joining in 2007. How silly I was! SFRRC is the perfect place for all levels of athletic experience and all bold & bodacious dreams.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
Jokingly, I always tell club members that a good finish line photo is the best goal. But truthfully, I believe it because a giant smile at the finish is a good sign you are successfully rocking your own world.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The people, the people, the people..THE BEST PEOPLE!

Favorite Race: With 30 full marathons & 150+ half marathons under my feet, I just couldn't ever choose a favorite. Too many loves.  
Favorite Training Runs: Angel Island 15 miles (two loops from the ferry) for training on trails. Best views of San Francisco + Sam's for lunch afterwards. 
Which pace group are you in: I'm typically a 9:30 runner, but I've run with many of the SFRRC pace groups from 8:00s to 11:00s. This year, I'm hanging with the hilariously awesome Goldies (10:30). Never in my life have I laughed so much! 
How many miles do you run per week:When everything (personally, professionally, and physically) is rocking, I usually put in 35-45 miles per week.
Shoes: I am loyal to ASICS.
Food (when training for a marathon):As a vegetarian, food is sometimes a complicated issue. Pasta & veggies are my go-to before long runs. Peanut butter on a bagel alongside chocolate milk is my finish-line treat.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club:I'm an art historian by profession, a musician by training, and a baker of the world's best chocolate chip cookies by popular demand.

What keeps you motivated?
Running is the most human activity on my schedule. It keeps me grounded, humbled, and peaceful. Better than therapy.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Dare to be awesome!

ZANETA CHA  | SEPTEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

Zaneta joined the San Francisco Road Runners early this year to help her on her quest to the Spartan World Championships. In the process Zaneta has brought so much joy and good will to the club with her participation - not only in training (long runs, speed work, etc.), but also in volunteering/service with the club. Along with Matthew, Zaneta spearheaded/led our entire SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon (27 of our club members volunteered). With gratitude and smiles we won't mention how early she arrived to set that marathon fuel station up. ;)

Zaneta qualified for the 2018 Spartan World Championships at the end of August at the Regional Championships in West Virginia. Go Zaneta!  

Questions we asked Zaneta:

When did you first get interested in running? And what do you run now?
I started to entertain the idea of running two years ago, because a lot of my friends were inviting me to join local 5k “fun” runs. Personally, I always associated running as a punishment for sports and I was amazed that so many people actually paid money to do something that could be done for free. However, when I was introduced to the world of obstacle course racing, I realized that I needed to be a faster, more efficient runner. I joined SFRRC with the intent that running would be supplemental training that I needed to do to become better.

Why do you still run?
Little did I know that after joining the club, I would meet so many amazing members, discover so many different areas of the SF, and even enjoy running (sometimes). Even though the OCR season is coming to an end, I plan to continue to run because after watching the Boston Marathon documentary, I ended up signing up for my first marathon in December!   

How did you hear about SFRRC?
I first heard about SFRRC through a friend from my church, who said it was the friendliest run club in SF! I joined the club January 2018 during the Sports Basement kick-off run. Any run club that serves a bacon and egg breakfast afterwards will win me over! 

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running/athletic goals - any races included?
My dream goal would be to be on the Spartan race podium. SFRRC has been vital to my success in helping me achieve my goal this year of making it to Worlds. Another athletic goal that I have is getting a personal training certification so that I can help other individuals meet their own athletic goals.

What are a few of your favorite thing about the club?
SFRRC is truly the friendliest run club in SF! I have met so many inspirational friends and runners, who continue to not only support me, but also challenge me to become better. I love having a group of people who continue to keep me accountable, just by being present at all the runs. I also really enjoy all the events that we have such as movie nights, book signings, and bowling nights, especially since they all are accompanied by free food!

Favorite Race: Spartan LA Dodger Stadium race! For anyone who is interested in trying out OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) for the first time, stadium races are great! This was my most memorable race because my friends and I did a 24 hour trip down to LA for the race. We drove down at 4 am, ran the race in the afternoon, went for Korean BBQ for dinner and explored City Walk, and then made it back to the city at 4 am the next day.  
Favorite Training Runs: I really enjoy track! It is a smaller group, and although the workouts can be challenging, they are usually over pretty quickly. Plus, sometimes we get pizza or ice cream afterwards! 
Which pace group are you in: I rotate between 9:30min/mile and 9:00min/mile depending on my race schedule. Wing and Laura are AWESOME!  
How many miles do you run per week: 35mi-40mi. I also lift weights 3-4 times a week
Shoes: Asics Kayano for long runs; Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 for OCR
Food (when training for a marathon): Two weeks before a race, I cut out dairy, gluten and anything with added sugar. Then a week before the race, I try to incorporate slightly more carbs such as baked sweet potatoes and quinoa.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubI LOVE to eat (can you tell?) so I am always excited to try new restaurants and always open to sharing a meal with others! Hit me up! I also really enjoy playing board games, scrapbooking, and reading.

What keeps you motivated?
I love pushing myself and discovering new limits. Watching my overall pace decrease and placing higher in races is a huge motivator for me. I also really appreciate all my fellow runners that show up to track and long runs every week. On the days that I do not always want to get out and run, I remember how much fun I have with everyone and how there is always someone that will show up no matter what the condition #fomo.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Consistency and Variety is KEY! I believe that every run or workout that you do is one step closer to being successful in a race. If you stick to your plan, the results should hopefully follow. I am also a big advocate of weight-training and exercises that promote multi-directional movements. I try to include a lot of compound lifts, which help support my muscles when I run, as well as make sure that I am training other angles of my body so that I prevent imbalances from doing repetitive movements.

SHAGUN TOUGAS | AUGUST 2018 - Member Spotlight

Shagun is one of THE most helpful and hardest working members of our club! And we're so grateful for her. Here with her husband, Luke, as they were volunteering at the SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon. Shagun is also one of our Club Ambassadors and the one who leads our partnership with Sports Basement as we lead their 6:30pm Wednesday evening Fun Runs from their Presidio Store. If you're looking for an easy run (often on the soft trails of the Presidio) on Wednesdays head over to Sports Basement. It's quite fun and they always have food and drink (often with hops to replenish the carbs) after. Thank you Shagun!

Questions we asked Shagun:

When did you first get interested in running? 
I played team sports while in school (don't ask how long ago that was), so running was always part of my life. But I really got interested in running long distance in 2012 with the aim to run my first marathon.

Why do you still run?
It truly makes me happy.  

How did you hear about SFRRC?
From my neighbor, club member, and dear friend - Karla Scott (I aspire to be super fast like her :)

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running goals - any races included?
Long term - to stay healthy and stay running as long as I can.  Short term - I am currently training for the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota in October.

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The camaraderie of its members.  

Favorite Race: I haven’t run too many marathons, so I am still in search of my favorite.
Favorite Training Runs: Runs in the Golden Gate Park and Presidio. I just love the trails there.
Which pace group are you in: 10 minutes with the most handsome Pace Group Leader, Luke (I am biased, he is my husband).  
How many miles do you run per week: 35-40 on a good week
Shoes: Minimalist shoes by New Balance
Food (when training for a marathon): Gnocchi, pasta, and beer (I hear carb loading is good)
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club: Running while traveling or traveling while running

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Don’t go out too fast and I would share a quote from Art E. Berg “While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

NIMESH RANJAN | JULY 2018 - Member Spotlight

Nimesh was chosen at the most simple level for his infectious positive spirit! But, even more pertinent at the moment is that Nimesh has risen again after very difficult injury sidelined him (what he thought might be indefinitely)... last July 4th. Thanks to a great doctor, successful surgery, and terrific physical therapists... he's back running with us again. And we're so happy. Welcome back Nimesh! Cheers to you and lots of good running ahead!

Questions we asked Nimesh:

When did you first get interested in running? 
Oh.. I started running little by little back in 2003 when I was living in Bangalore. I had a neighbor who had run the Big Sur Marathon and I started running with him. However it was not until 2009 when I ran my first marathon (Chicago) that I was truly addicted.

Why do you still run?
I am hooked! I really enjoy it and it keeps me wanting to do more. 

How many years have you been with SFRRC?
I joined in 2014 after I moved to SF... and have not looked back! 

Which pace group are you in?
I am coming back from a bad ankle fracture so I am still trying to figure out what will work for me. You will usually see me doing my own thing between the pace groups 9 - 10:30 /mile. I used to run with the 8:30 (Go Robert!).. and hope to inch back there soon :)

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The people! When I broke my ankle, I didn't realize how much love and support I got from my close running buddies - Rachel, Tommy, Sabrina, Vince, Wayne, Kate, Jon Liu, John, Lisa, and many many more! Thank you for rooting for me.. it feels great to have such awesome friends and community :-)

Favorite Race: Chicago - It's something about the energy (and it helps that it is all flat)!
Favorite Training Runs: Saturday Club Runs with breakfast after :) 
Food (when training for a marathon): A lot! My tip: I go gluten free a few weeks before the race.
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Runners

What keeps you motivated/goals?
Peer pressure. Its great to see club members show up. Helps me to be there.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Track and Tempo were really helpful to me. Also.. Long runs - run sloooow... above all hope you enjoy the journey! 

Please contact us with suggestions of club members who've brought joy or inspiration to you and our club. Or someone who's accomplishing tremendous feats! Email: We'll put this request in our emails too. Thank you!

Thanks to the generosity of Sports Basement, our Member of the Month recipients receive a $50 Gift Certificate to the store and a small gift too.

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